Yosef Meystel has been accused of child molestation during the time he was the administrator of the Rabbi Naftoli RiffYeshiva in South Bend, IN.
He is currently employed by Rabbi Morris Esformes who was at one time married to the wife of "rabbi" Mordecai Tendler nee Jofen's sister.
Yosef Meystel was accused of child molestation during the time he was the administrator of the Rabbi Naftali Riff Yeshiva in South Bend, Indiana, and misconduct when he was the administrator of a nursing home owned by Rabbi Morris Esformes, whose homes have been cited for horrific abuses that led to the deaths of residents.
Currently Yosef Meystel is employed by Yam Management, in which he overs sees the daily operations of 16 nursing home facilities.
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Table of Contents:
Today Steve is 25
- Chicago Center For Torah And Chesed Honors Alleged Sex Offender
Nursing Home Articles
- Nursing Home Fined for Negligence. (04/23/2004)
- Man Sues Emerald Park, Claims Neglect. (04/28/2004)
- Nursing Home Back in Village's Doghouse (04/09/2005)
- State sues facility housing ex-cons. (04/23/2005)
- State seeks outside director for troubled nursing home (04/25/2005)
- Judge orders nursing home to close. (05/23/2005)
- Yosef Meystel of YAM Management Explains Property Management
- Linkedin Profile (07/25/2010)
- Twitter (11/24/2013)
- Facebook (11/24/2013)
April 26, 2006
Yosef Meystel was expelled from Rabbi Naftoli Riff Yeshiva in Sound Bend, Indiana when he was in 9th or 10th grade for pulling his pants down of another boy during an argument. It is believed that because Meystel's father donated a great deal of money he was allowed back into the school. Yosef's father owned a well known clothing store in Chicago at the time. There was also a rumor floating around that Yosef Meystel's also molested one his younger siblings.
Rabbi Naftoli Gettinger was the Rosh Yeshiva (dean of the school ) at the time. The Rav (Rabbi) was Raphael Gettinger, Naftoli's older brother.
"Steve" attended the Rabbi Naftoli Riff Yeshiva in South Bend, Inc. when he was 13 years old. The 25 year-old school administrator was Yosef Meystel.
"Steve" was warned by the other boys at the school that it was best to be on the good side of Meystel, "because if you weren't he would harass you all the time".
One of the jobs of Meystel was to organize the food for the yeshiva (making sure it was kosher). Being in South Bend having kosher food could be a challenge.
"Steve" stated that Meystel was overly generous to him. Instead of "Steve" having to use the public pay phone in the hallway to call home, Meystel would always let him use a private phone in an office. "Steve"" was always grateful for this since he would often be on the phone crying because of the illness at home. The survivor was a straight "A" student.
Meystel started grooming "Steve" by doing all sorts of special things for him, which lead to "Steve" spending time in Meystel's room. Gradually Meystel started showing him pornography, laying in bed exposing himself , and masturbating in front of "Steve". Meystel slowly encourage "Steve" to do the same thing, and "things progressed from there". The boys grades dropped from being an "A" student to a "C" student.
"Steve" told some of his friends that Meystel wouldn't leave him alone; yet didn't go into details about what was happening.
"Steve" left the school for summer break, never told his family what happened and ended up returning the next year. Nothing happened at first, so "Steve" thought he was going to be ok. After Succos (a Jewish holiday in the fall) the abuse began. "Steve" stated he did his best to stay away from Meystel, but things continued.
When "Steve" was 14. He disclosed his secret to a few friends. Together they decided to get Meystel on tape, which they did, and took the tapes to the Rosh Yeshiva, Raphael Gettinger right before parents day at the school. Steve still was not at a point he could disclose to his parents what was happening.
Rabbi Gettinger's confiscated the evidence and stated that he would take care of the situation. Nothing was done, except Yosef Meystel left the school a few days before the parent's day weekend.
At one point "Steve" told his parents what was happening. "Steve's" parents confronted Rabbi Gettinger who then offered to pay for the boy to see a therapist connected to the school. The therapist had no training in dealing with survivors of sexual abuse, and told "Steve" to read self help books.
"Steve" stated that at this point the rosh yeshiva did what he could to make the incidents public knowledge and the boy was being harassed by his classmates, being called gay, etc. He eventually left the school.
By Phil Jacobs
Baltimore Jewish Times - February 23, 2007
The teacher's son. Steve was 11. (Case of Shmuel Juravel)
The yeshiva administrator. Steve was 13. (Case of Yosef Meystel)
The attorney. Steve was 15. (Case of Brad Hames)
Today, Steve is 25. He graduated recently from Towson University with a degree in science. He is awaiting response to graduate school applications.
Steve is from an Orthodox family of eight children. He is no longer observant. Still, he remains close to his parents and siblings. He was a student at a Baltimore-area yeshiva and then a yeshiva high school in the Midwest.
But along the way, everything went so very wrong.
Steve still makes his home in the Orthodox community here in Baltimore. He was one of the disenfranchised teens who hung out over on the corner of Strathmore and Park Heights avenues. People grouped him and the others as "reject" kids. They had, the community said, "Fallen off the derech," fallen off the righteous path.
"I was probably taking more trips to the principal's office than most kids, because I liked to joke around," he remembered.
His fifth-grade rabbi held a summer camp for the boys. The highlight of the summer was an overnight camping trip to Glyndon. Steve remembers a barbecue, baseball and swimming.
It was an experience that was supposed to be fun. It should have been memorable. Instead, it started a process that Steve wishes he could forget.
That night, Steve and the friends in his tent just couldn't fall asleep and were talking. This is what children do when there's the excitement of camping, sleeping outside in tents on a summer night.
The cackling and giggling of the children drew attention, not from the rabbi but from his teenage son, who was acting as a chaperone on the trip. He told the boys to stop the noise. Finally, he told them to come to his tent.
"Shmuel Zev called us to his tent," said Steve. "He told us to lay down, and he started telling us stories. I noticed a hand where it shouldn't have been. It was weird."
Shmuel Zev Juravel, the rabbi's son, was fondling Steve.
"I knew something wasn't right, and I reacted, but he told me to be quiet or 'My father will hear you.' But I remember that one of the other kids started to laugh. Shmuel Zev was switching off between the four of us underneath the blankets."
Shmuel Zev apparently was known for this sort of behavior. Steve learned from others that he wasn't the first, nor would he be the last.
It wouldn't be the last experience for Steve, as well.
Shmuel Zev, now 30, is in federal prison, serving 21 years after he pleaded guilty to traveling to Alabama to have sex with two young boys. Juravel, an insurance salesman in Savannah, Ga., admitted to three counts of traveling to have sex with a child and the use of the Internet to entice a child to engage in illegal sexual acts.
He was arrested by the FBI and U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents about a year ago at a Birmingham, Ala., hotel after he arranged to have sex with people he believed were to be 11- and 12-year-old boys. Juravel admitted using the Internet "to attempt to persuade, induce and entice boys to meet him for sex."
Juravel gained the attention of federal agents when he responded to an online advertisement for "rare and hard-to-find escort services," according to the U.S. District Court in Savannah. The ad was posted on the Internet by an undercover agent. Juravel requested 11- to 14-year-old boys for sex and child pornography DVDs, according to a government affidavit. According to newspaper accounts, Juravel mailed cash to a post office box in Birmingham and specified the child he wanted, along with another boy "on standby."
He arrived in Birmingham on Feb. 21, 2006, to find federal agents waiting for him.
News of his arrest didn't take long to spread, but it took Steve by surprise. He wasn't sure exactly how he would or could handle it.
"When I first heard he was caught, it put a fire underneath of me," said Steve. "When his story came out, it gave me a weird feeling. I felt as if I could have done more to prevent him from molesting other children. You know, the human mind is amazing, that someone could take this sort of action out on a child."
Shmuel Zev was, as Steve described it, "only the beginning of his experiences with people like this."
Like many Baltimore yeshiva boys, Steve went out of town to a high school yeshiva. His parents sent him to a major school in the central part of the country.
It would be good for him to get a fresh start and meet new faces. Plus, Steve describes himself as extremely neat and meticulous. It was important that the housing offered by any school be neat and not cluttered. And most importantly, it had to be a school that took secular courses seriously. His science, math, English and history courses had to mean something. He wanted to go to college one day.
His first weeks there, Steve described himself as being homesick. Nothing strange, especially for a 13-year-old who had never really been away from home before. He had a need to call home. There was a phone in a corridor, but that was way too public. He was embarrassed to let any of his classmates see the tears associated with homesickness. The only privacy he could have to speak to his parents on the telephone was located in the yeshiva administrator's room.
"He started befriending me," said Steve. "He allowed me use of the phone in his room, which was located next to the beis midrash [study hall] dorm. Once, I was using the phone in his room to call home. He pulled out a porno magazine. It was shocking, it didn't seem real."
The "price" to use the telephone privately was his administrator's obsession with these magazines.
"This went on," Steve continued. "I needed to use the phone to call my parents, and he'd be in the room with these porno magazines. He then asked me if I would masturbate in front of him. It was too much."
Steve kept silent about the incidents, about the request. He did feel harassed and coerced and confused. When he returned to the yeshiva in 10th grade, the same administrator kept offering him the explicit magazines.
Steve was a consistent A and B student, but now his grades started to drop. The administrator, he said, was now offering him money to masturbate in front of him. When Steve refused, the administrator grabbed him by the neck.
He would go on to finally tell a friend who would tell his father. Steve was told by the school's administration to keep the incident quiet. The administration received the complaint about its employee three days before parents' visiting day.
Three days later, the administrator was fired. And Steve started to take personal steps backward from his Orthodox lifestyle.
"I was told by the rabbis that I was using this as an excuse to not be as religious as I should be," he said.
When Steve learned that the administrator was engaged to be married, he had his mother telephone the bride's family to warn them. He was then called back into the office of the rosh yeshiva, or dean, where he was screamed at for "threatening the sanctity of marriage."
Steve's yeshiva experience ended with expletives directed at the rosh yeshiva and screamed so loudly that his classmates heard them come from behind the rosh yeshiva's closed door.
The administrator ended up on the staff of a Chicago-area nursing home. Its management was under question by state authorities for a number of reasons, including alleged sexual abuse charges in 2005.
The Chicago Sun Times reported that something like 10 sex offenders were living at the nursing center. Illinois also cited incidents in which residents were trading sex for cigarettes, passing out from drinking, and wandering off and setting fires inside the facility.
Steve would come back to his parents' home in Baltimore after the yeshiva experience. At first, he'd spend 18 hours a day just sleeping. He contemplated suicide. On one occasion, what kept him alive was simply hearing the happy voice of a younger little sister. He did not want to hurt her or miss her growing up.
But then came "the attorney." He was a ba'al teshuva, a returnee to observance, who became involved in the community, a guest of frum families in town for Shabbat lunches.
By now, Steve was 15 and still in a despondent state of mind. He and his family were introduced to the bright, vivacious young man. Steve said the attorney could sense there were issues, depression even. He would talk with the attorney, make light conversation at the Shabbos table.
The affable attorney invited Steve to go rent a movie with him and then head out to a "sister's" apartment in Columbia. The attorney rented the movie "Fargo." But when the movie was over, he put a porno movie in the VCR. There was, by the way, no sister in Columbia, Steve would later learn.
"I just started screaming," recalled Steve. "I asked to be taken home. He freaked out, and told me he'd take me right home, and he asked me not to tell anyone.
"You think you're climbing up a hill and you're about to emerge from it, and then there's a mudslide."
Steve kept silent, but then while in the neighborhood, he and a friend passed the attorney walking along Cross Country Boulevard on a Shabbat afternoon. Steve's friend volunteered, "There goes the child molester."
"He told me that the guy did stuff to him. The guy was a guest in his house, like, every Shabbos."
Steve and his friend did go to the rabbis, and the attorney has since left the Baltimore area. There were never any charges or disciplinary actions taken against the attorney.
In a meeting with a rabbinic official, Steve was told he should work hard in own personal life to be close to the "kisse ha coved" (the throne of glory). Instead, Steve wanted to kill the attorney who abused him. And for months, he and a friend would trash his car or stand outside of his Cross Country Manor apartment and yell expletives at his window.
"I thought sometimes that I had written on my forehead the words, 'Molest me.'"
There is a way Steve describes these incidents. He talked about how in a science class, he learned that a cheetah can sprint swiftly at short distances, but could never keep up with entire herds of gazelles, who can run at a quick rate for miles.
"But the cheetah," he said, "watches for hours until he can pick out the gazelle who is lame, or the young who can't find its mother. That's when it strikes."
What also started to "strike" Steve was the availability of drugs. He contends that an overwhelming number of his friends or acquaintances who were victimized by sexual predators would begin to self-medicate, be it with alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, cocaine or even heroin.
At 12-step meetings, he was overwhelmed by the number of sexual molestation incidents he would hear as part of the lives of those Jews in recovery. He was also, in a sense, relieved that he wasn't the only Jewish person victimized.
Steve smoked pot, but he said his priority was getting an education. He would go on to attend the Community College of Baltimore, earning his degree, and then attend Towson. He wants to work in the sciences.
"There's a lot of sick people out there," he said of sexual predators. "These people are in all of this for themselves. They do not care about anybody, about you or your mental state when they violate you. It's so rampant. It's like the AIDS virus, it's gone wildfire. For guys like me, there used to be a sanctity about Judaism that prevented these things from happening. That sanctity is gone. When it comes to religion, I might talk the talk, but I'll walk my own walk."
It "sickens" Steve to even walk into a synagogue these days. He called the yeshiva system a "breeding ground for sexual molestation."
He said the best "therapy" he's had has been to talk to other victims, or "survivors," as he calls them. There's an anger, tears are in his eyes as he gets ready to say his next comment, which simply is, "Nobody is ever going to hurt me again."
He spends his days working as the office manager of a medical facility. Many nights are spent in the gym, where the strenuous exercise he puts himself through is often the best therapy. He hopes to get his post-graduate education, and eventually find the woman of his dreams and raise a family. And he wants to continue doing what he can to make the issue of sexual molestation a bigger part of the social conversation.
"A lot of people overlook this thing, especially in the religious community," he said. "God forbid, we should talk about it," he said in a mimicking way. "But these predators are among us, and they are a danger to our children."
What of now, what of the future? Steve said he doesn't live through a day when he doesn't think about his abuse. He added that in his life, he has met a lot of "good people" who are also survivors.
Does he believe in God any longer? He quickly answers yes, it's the system that he said lets him and other survivors down.
In his discussion, he'll insert a word of Torah, an expression of Hebrew here and there. It's the neshamah (soul) of this young man speaking. He sees many Jews in terms of the biblical description erev rav, or mixed multitudes.
"These are the people who gave us the story of the egel, the golden calf," he said. "These are people who say they are Jewish, dress like they are Jewish, but then go ahead and hide from the reality of sexual abuse. It's like they think it will just go away, or it would never happen in the Jewish community."
If there is a hero in his life, he quickly points to his grandmother, who survived the Holocaust.
"When I think I've been through some bad times, I try to pick up the phone and talk to her. She's in her 80s, and I know if she's OK, then I know I'll be OK."
His answer for the future is to educate the public.
"This is a big deal. It's like if you throw a pebble in the water, it creates a ripple effect, that's how we have to educate people about what we've been through."
Steve's eyes are intense and he's staring off to the side.
"Considering what I have been through," he said. "I'm going to be OK."
"It's affected my wife and the entire family, and it's been going on through years." Steve's dad is the child of Holocaust survivors. Israeli born, he's survived two wars. Yet, he's never seen such a struggle as the one his abused son has lived through. "This isn't like a medical problem, you treat it and it's over," he said. "This is a lifetime problem, and it takes a long time to recover from sexual abuse."
The family did approach an attorney and Steve's yeshiva was questioned. But key evidence, said his dad, was destroyed by the yeshiva administration, evidence that might have resulted in charges against the former administrator. When reached on his cell phone, the person at the Center of Steve's nightmare admitted that he was the former administrator of the Midwest yeshiva. But when given details of the former student's allegations against him, he responded by saying, "I have no idea what you are talking about." He hung up the phone. By press time, a call to the yeshiva president, himself, was not returned.
The yeshiva authorities, Steve's dad said, ended up victimizing the victims of their administrator. And both he and his wife suspect that their son hasn't told them everything, that the abuse was much worse.
"I would never suspect something of this nature existing in the religious community," said the dad. "I would expect that the yeshivas would address these issues as soon as they discover them. It appears that the people who abused my son were both known to have these tendencies, yet they were kept in their positions. But because I didn't suspect anything, I never exposed my kids to these possibilities of abuse. Before kids go to yeshiva, I feel parents should educate them about sex offenders.
"We read news accounts of Palestinian terrorists who disguise themselves in the clothing of Orthodox Jews and then they blow themselves up as suicide bombers," continued the dad.
"A person who wears the clothing of an Orthodox Jew and molests another person is the same as that suicide bomber, only he's killing the soul of a child."
Why Is This A Big Deal?
So Steve was touched on his penis, asked to masturbate in front of another man, and pressured to watch a porno movie.
There are those who might scoff at the notion that these acts constitute sexual molestation. They might also ask why Steve simply can't "get over it" and move on with his life. After all, the sexual molestation could have been a great deal worse. Why is all of this such a big deal? Yet for Steve and survivors of sexual molestation, these actions of abuse, no matter how major or minor, impact them every day of their lives.
Lisa Ferentz, a clinical social worker based in Pikesville, and the creator of a certificate program in Advanced Trauma Treatment, has spent years working with survivors of sexual abuse. Ms. Ferentz believes that "we should never minimize acts of sexual molestation because the experience profoundly affects a child's fundamental sense of trust and safety in the world. Regardless of what is attempted or done to a victim, it can lead to a deep sense of loss. There is the loss of safety, innocence, appropriate boundaries, protection, trust, physical and emotional safety. Having to keep the abuse a secret exacerbates a sense of rage, shame and despair. This can lead to a multitude of inevitable symptoms and problems as the survivor develops. When the pain is overwhelming, many survivors attempt to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. The experience can be truly life-altering."
In addition, she said it is not unusual for a person to be repeatedly victimized, often by multiple perpetrators.
"When children are abused and threatened into silence, they often exude a vulnerability, helplessness and despair that resonates for perpetrators, making them potentially easy targets. Pedophiles look for kids who are lacking in self-esteem, despondent or passive. They tend to stay away from kids who appear to be confident, happy and strong. They want to make sure their victim will not put up a fight, and won't tell anyone afterward. Sadly, survivors are left asking themselves, 'What am I doing to attract these people?' Although abuse is never the victim's fault, this questioning begins a spiral of self-blame, guilt and shame. And it decreases the survivor's ability to advocate for safety in the future."
Ms. Ferentz suggests that victims or survivors start their journey toward healing by "finding someone they can trust to disclose to: someone they know will absolutely believe them. Therapy is an important tool toward recovery. With the proper support and guidance, victims can truly survive and transcend their abuse."
By Shmyra Rosenberg
Failed Messiah Blog - June 7, 2011
Also notice that even though four couples are being honored, only the men are pictured – there are no pictures of the women on the promotional material. This follows the current ultra-Orthodox norm of blotting women completely out of public life – something that was unheard of 25 years ago:
|Alleged Sex Offender - Yosef Meystel honored|
By Yvette Presberry
Southwest News-Herald – City Edition
April 08, 2004
State health officials have fined Emerald Park Health Care Center, 9125 S. Pulaski Road, Evergreen Park, for failing to monitor intoxicated patients, to report resident abuse or to to give special programs to mentally ill patients.
The Illinois Department of Public Health fined the long-term care facility $20,000 after receiving three complaints on Emerald Park's services and conducting an inspection into the complaints.
According to health officials, inspectors cited Emerald Park for failing to monitor residents who were known to often be intoxicated.
|Rabbi Morris Esformes - Alleged enabler of Yosef Meystel|
The facility was also fined when it did not report senior abuse. A nursing employee said that she witnessed a resident pull off another patient's wig and throw it on a fan.
Although she told the resident not to do it again, the staffer didn't try to interfere in the incident, and she didn't report the act either, according to reports.
IDPH said the employee didn't think the incident was abusive.
The patient was later admitted into a hospital on a different occasion with a swollen face and a brain hemorrhage. IDPH said that the administrator, Yosef Meystel, did not conduct an investigation of the patient's injuries nor tell the state health department about it.
Telling IDPH about the hospitalization and injuries is required by state law.
Tammy Leonard, IDPH spokesperson, said that the health department also recommended to the Center of Medicare and Medicaid Services that Emerald Park be fined for $6,400 for its federal deficiencies.
CMC representative sheryl Powell said that Emerald Park was fined for a total of $24,750, which they paid.
Emerald Park's representatives were unavailable for comment, but they requested a hearing on the fines. A date hasn't been set yet for the hearing.
This is not the first time that Emerald Park had been fined by IDPH.
In February 2002, the nursing center was fined $5,000 for failing to supervise smoking residents to avoid a fire.
Emerald Park was fined $5,000 again in April 2003 for failing to protect a resident from mental and physical abuse. The resident alleged that the facility's security guard used intimidation and physical pushing to interrogate him about an earlier incident.
The facility is also on the 2001 and 2002 watch list with Consumer Reports Online, and given high ratings of residential harm on the National Home Watch List from July 2002 to October 2003.
The facility is co-owned by Morris Esformes and Doreen and Marvin Mermelstein.
Marvin Mermelstein was named in a lawsuit with Emerald Park when the estate of a patient alleged that the nursing home failed to monitor her and prevent her from multiple falls.
Esformes owns several nursing homes in Illinois that have been investigated and/or fined for insufficient residential care.
None of the owners could be reached for comment.
Man Sues Emerald Park, Claims Neglect
By YVETTE PRESBERRY
Southwest News-Herald – Oak Lawn, Burbank Edition - April 28, 2004
After state health officials fined Emerald Park Health Care Center, 9125 S. Pulaski Road, Evergreen Park, for neglecting to monitor a resident's consistent intoxication that led to his death, the patient's family filed a lawsuit against the nursing home.
Danny Blair, brother of the late Eric Blair, filed a lawsuit on April 19 in Cook County Circuit Court, charging Emerald with abuse and neglect of his brother.
John Perconti, Danny Blair's lawyer, said that the 10-page complaint accuses Emerald of abuse and neglect, lack of supervision and monitoring and allowance of intoxication.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, Eric Blair was well known at Emerald for his alcholism history.
In October 2003, Blair drank so much alcohol that he passed out. An employee allegedly carried him to his room where he died 11 hours later of a cardiac arrest.
In their report, IDPH's investigators said that one of Emerald Park's night nurses told the paramedics, "It's not unusual for (Eric Blair) to get drunk. Not every night, but he is a regular."
IDPH concluded in their report that not only had Emerald failed to monitor Blair's alcohol intake and actions, but the facility also failed to monitor other residents who were frequently drunk.
"We know he wasn't being watched," said Perconti, who stated that Eric Blair was found in a rigor mortis condition when he was dead. He also said that the head board on Blair's bed was broken, suggesting that he injured himself.
Perconti said that a monitor has now been placed at Emerald.
The facility's administrator Yosef Meystel said that he could not comment on the case since it is pending litigation.
Perconti said that this is its third case against Emerald Park.
One pertained to a resident suffering from malnutrition, and the other was of an alleged sexual assault of a female resident.
Both cases are still pending, said Perconti.
Emerald Park is owned by Doreen and Marvin Mermelstein and Rabbi Morris Esformes.
Doreen Mermelstein owns 50 percent of a nusring home on the north side of Chicago. Marvin Mermelstein owns the other half of that facility, plus percentages of ownership in three other Chicago nursing homes, and one in Chicago Ridge.
Esformes owns nursing homes throughout Illinois and Missouri, and has been at the center of several cases regarding patient care at his facilities.
He could not be reached for comment.
State seeks outside director for troubled nursing home
Knight-Ridder / Tribune Business News - April 29, 2005
Apr. 28--Illinois Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan asked Wednesday that a judge appoint an outside administrator for an Evergreen Park nursing home, which was found to be housing 10 sex offenders this month, as a first step toward trying to shut down the facility.
Madigan filed a motion with the Cook County Circuit Court to have a receiver run the 249-bed Emerald Park Health Care Center at 9125 S. Pulaski Rd. while state officials seek to revoke its license.
The action comes on the heels of a spate of complaints from Evergreen Park officials and state legislators that the home is poorly run.
"We're taking this drastic action to protect the residents of both Evergreen Park and the care center," Madigan said in a prepared statement.
The long-term care facility was thrust into the spotlight early this month when a sweep by Illinois State Police found eight registered and two unregistered sex offenders living there.
Police arrested the two who had failed to register and two other residents on unrelated warrants from the Cook County sheriff's office.
Four days after the sweep, another resident was found to be a sex offender and was arrested at a park where staff had taken him with other residents. As a result of that incident, home administrator Yosef Meystel was charged with reckless conduct, a misdemeanor.
Care center officials then said they no longer would admit sex offenders and promised to transfer those currently living there to other facilities.
But the home has had other problems. Two weeks ago, small fires were intentionally set at the facility, Illinois Department of Public Health said.
Last year, the center was fined $10,000 for allegedly failing to provide adequate supervision of a resident with a sexually transmitted disease who became pregnant after she engaged in sexual activity with multiple partners in exchange for favors and cigarettes, the Health Department said.
In 2003, Emerald Park was fined $20,000 for, among other things, failing to monitor a resident who passed out after becoming intoxicated and for allowing another resident to leave the facility unnoticed, the agency said.
"While recent events have highlighted gross mismanagement at this facility, it has a long history of problematic incidents," Madigan said. "The bottom line is the state can no longer allow current management to keep putting the community and residents at risk."
A hearing on Madigan's motion for a receiver is scheduled for Thursday before Judge Patrick McGann.
The Health Department began proceedings to revoke Emerald Park's operating license in June 2004, said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, the state public health director. A hearing is scheduled for July 18, but Whitaker said the department decided it cannot wait and requested that Madigan seek a receiver.
Emerald Park administrators could not be reached Wednesday for comment. The center's attorney, Frances Meehan, said the facility will oppose appointment of a receiver and intends to fight the proposed license revocation.
"There's been an awful lot of negative publicity about nursing homes lately, and Emerald Park has become a victim of that publicity," Meehan said. "We strongly disagree with the contention that the home has been mismanaged."
State Rep. James Brosnahan (D-Evergreen Park), state Sen. Edward Maloney (D-Chicago) and Evergreen Park Mayor Jim Sexton issued statements saying they're pleased with the moves by Whitaker and Madigan.
"We want safe neighborhoods for our families and closing this facility will accomplish that," Sexton said.
Nursing Home Back in Village's Doghouse
Daily Southtown - April 9, 2005
Evergreen Park officials want to shut down a nursing home after two unregistered child sex offenders were arrested during a sweep at the facility.
Recently, police learned eight registered sex offenders live at Emerald Park Health Care Center.
"We're not going to take no for an answer," Mayor James Sexton said Friday. "Enough is enough."
Sexton and Police Chief Michael Saunders met Friday with officials from the Illinois attorney general's office about the facility.
"We want more stringent rules and regulations on how nursing facilities can be run," Sexton said. "That particular one is nothing more than a flop house."
The meeting with the attorney general's director of policy came one day after a sweep led by the Illinois State Police Medicare Fraud Unit.
Police arrested four people, including the two unregistered child sex offenders, during the sweep at the nursing home, 9125 S. Pulaski Road.
The 249-bed skilled and intermediate care facility serves geriatric and mentally ill residents.
The police chief said he was concerned about having so many sex offenders living in one place.
"It's very alarming to me. It's immoral and unethical having this type of behavior in this community," Saunders said. "The safety of this community comes first, and they're disregarding the concerns of residents of this community."
Sexton said nursing home residents have rights, but so do the community's residents.
"The system has bent over backwards maintaining the rights of the Emerald Park residents," Sexton said.
"But violating the rights of the people who live here in Evergreen Park. It's gone on far too long and disrupted too many people."
Emerald Park administrator Yosef Meystel could not be reached for comment Friday.
The nursing home has been disciplined and fined for serious violations by state regulators several times since 2002.
The Illinois Department of Public Health in September began proceedings to revoke the facility's license.
In October 2003, the facility was fined $20,000 for not providing nursing services in accordance with residents' needs. In one case, it failed to properly monitor a resident who passed out and died after becoming intoxicated, the state reported.
In another case, a patient at the home exchanged sex for cigarettes and carried a child undetected for eight months.
Tammy Leonard, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, said her department has been in close contact with the attorney general's office since the state police sweep Thursday.
A hearing on the revocation proceedings is scheduled for July.
Sexton said the police department Friday turned over to the attorney general's office copies of police reports dating as far back as 1998 and other documents about the nursing home.
State Police Master Sgt. Arturo Martinez said the sweeps are done to get people wanted on active warrants out of state-funded nursing homes and to "ultimately make it a better place to live."
The state police periodically check the backgrounds of residents to determine if arrests need to be made.
Police said the people arrested Thursday were:
James Cothrain, 57, on a Cook County warrant for obstructing a court order for criminal damage to property;
Jerry L. Williams, 49, on a Cook County warrant for violation of a conditional release on domestic battery charges;
Maurice Young, 46, on a Chicago Police Department warrant for battery and because he failed to register as a child sex offender;
Tyrone Barber, 54, for failing to register as a child sex offender.
Stephanie Gehring may be reached at email@example.com or (708) 633-5971.
State sues facility housing ex-cons
BY CHRIS FUSCO AND LORI RACKL Staff Reporters Advertisement
Chicago Sun-Times - April 28, 2005
The state is moving to immediately begin shutting down an Evergreen Park nursing home, citing "gross mismanagement" that led to residents -- several with criminal pasts -- hurting each other and posing a threat to the south suburb's residents.
Emerald Park Healthcare Center, 9125 S. Pulaski, is expected to respond to the near-unprecedented action by Attorney General Lisa Madigan this morning in Cook County Circuit Court.
Madigan sued the nursing home Wednesday, claiming it racked up 168 federal health care violations since 1997 -- including patients falling out of windows and a resident's pregnancy going unnoticed for eight months.
The state's lawsuit cites a litany of problems reported at Emerald Park Healthcare Center:
Two residents seriously injured themselves after falling out of unsecured windows.
A mentally ill woman was bartering sexual favors for cigarettes. She came down with genital warts. When doctors were treating her, they discovered she was 8 months pregnant. Emerald was unaware of her pregnancy.
Staff members tore a wig off a resident and tossed it around. Other employees who saw the incident didn't intervene.
Last May, an insulin-dependent diabetic didn't get the right medicine, causing the patient's blood sugar to spike to four times the normal level.
A public health surveyor in July had to prompt Emerald staff to help a choking resident. The resident was supposed to be on a diet of soft foods and liquids but had been seen eating pretzels.
Staff have improperly supervised residents who'd been drinking alcohol. One drunken resident died. Emerald "failed to provide sufficient care in response to his intoxication."
Residents repeatedly escaped unnoticed, with Evergreen Park police receiving 114 reports of "missing" residents since 1997. A resident with a history of leaving the facility was spotted walking down the street by a state surveyor arriving for an inspection.
The attorney general also took aim at the facility's handling of parolees and registered sex offenders. A Chicago Sun-Times investigation published this week showed that 100 sex offenders and 61 parolees convicted of non-sex crimes have been living at nursing homes across Illinois, typically unbeknown to other residents.
Probe cites 'aggressive' behavior
State officials said sex offenders and parolees make up a miniscule segment of the nursing home population, and there are few reports of them being dangerous.
But a recent state Health Department investigation at Emerald Park pointed to "aggressive and threatening behaviors of residents with extensive criminal histories who posed as a threat to residents in the facility, as well as to residents in the community." At least 16 people with criminal pasts lived at Emerald Park. Among the incidents in the April 22 state report:
*A convicted child molester diagnosed with schizophrenia was reprimanded for standing over female residents as they slept. Records also indicate he physically abused fellow residents and told staff he would "cut them up in little pieces."
*That same resident was arrested April 11 after police learned he was on a supervised outing at a park adjacent to an Evergreen Park school. Sex offenders aren't supposed to loiter near schools, but the Emerald Park employee said she didn't know the man was a sex offender and had taken him to the park several times.
*A schizophrenic parolee who served 13 years in prison for sexually abusing a girl committed several violent acts. In March, he was caught smoking marijuana and threatening to kill other residents. Later that month, he came out of his room naked and attacked a guard.
*On April 12, a mentally ill parolee whose criminal history includes burglary and theft left Emerald Park without staff knowing, even though "he is not allowed to leave . . . because of his parole status."
'We can no longer wait'
|Rabbi Morris Esformes|
Madigan wants a judge to put new managers in charge and begin transferring Emerald Park's 243 residents to other nursing homes. Eighty percent are mentally ill; the remainder are elderly.
The lawsuit hits the fast-forward button on the state Health Department's move last year to revoke the nursing home's license. A hearing on the license revocation is scheduled July 18. "We feel we can no longer wait until the July hearing to take action," Health Department chief Eric Whitaker said.
By Steve Patterson
Chicago Sun-Times - May 28, 2005
A troubled Evergreen Park nursing home is being shut down in the wake of reports of illegal drug use, violence and threats of sexual assault against female residents.
Its former operator was accused Friday of manipulating residents so they'll transfer to other homes owned by the same firm.
Emerald Park Healthcare Center will be open only another two weeks, after federal officials announced they're cutting all Medicaid and Medicare funding to the facility.
About 40 residents have already been moved to other facilities, and 200 more will be transferred in the next 10 days by Pathway Health Services, which has operated the facility at Emerald Park's expense since April.
Cook County Judge Julia Nowicki put Pathway in charge of the facility after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan accused its leaders of "gross mismanagement."
Pathway produced a report showing repeated negligence, which was cited in the revocation of all federal funding.
Even as the nursing home was being shut down, the state reported during a court hearing Friday, the center's former administrator, Yosef Meystel, was "at the facility, telling residents it's being closed down and to sign papers transferring" them to other homes owned by Morris Esformes.
Ex-administrator told to leave
"They're in there right now undermining everything we're doing in court," Assistant Attorney General Deborah Simpson said.
Nowicki ordered him removed from the building, adding that if the allegation was true, it would be a violation of her orders.
Simpson argued Meystel was one of the "reasons the place is in the position it is in," and he shouldn't be allowed back, but Nowicki will allow Meystel to be there for eight hours Monday to observe Pathway's actions at the building at 9125 S. Pulaski Rd.
She also agreed that his presence could ease concerns of residents, most of whom are elderly or mentally ill.
Emerald Park attorneys also persuaded Nowicki to allow another top administrator, Sue Block, to supervise activities this weekend, claiming residents could suffer from "transfer trauma" unless they're around officials they know.
But Nowicki cautioned that if Block or Meystel interfere with the transfers, she could cite them.
"My primary goal is the safety of the individuals there and to get them relocated with as little trauma as possible," she said.
Pathway executive Kim Hysjulien told Nowicki that her company would be responsible for transferring patients and coordinating the layoff of about 200 staffers.
Cost of new manager questioned
Emerald Park attorneys didn't challenge the closure, but they questioned the number of nurses and administrators working to close the home, complaining that their bills are nearing $100,000. Nowicki will address that issue on Wednesday. Emerald Park attorneys refused to answer questions after the hearing.
Gail O'Connor, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said Madigan is pleased with the shutdown, which she believes "is in the best interests of the residents and the community."
The state has considered closing the center since last year, but its problems came to a head last month after the Sun-Times reported that 10 sex offenders were living there, including two who had not registered with the state.
The state, in petitioning for closure, also cited incidents in which unsupervised residents were trading sex for cigarettes, passing out from drinking, wandering off and setting fires inside the facility.
About Yosef Meystel:
Yosef Meystel is the president of YAM Management, a property management company located in Skokie, Illinois. YAM management operates several nursing home facilities and properties located within Illinois.
November 14, 2012
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Yosef Meystel - Facebook
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